The first sounds of the last admonishment of our story are the rustle of two pairs of sandals on a steep gravel path. The woman’s questioning voice gets tranquil, measured, but she gets elusive answers with a conciliatory and learned tone. The man gestures towards the sky and his fine embroidered robe flutters with the intensity of his movements and the rising wind.

   Similarly attired woman shoves her hands even deeper into the sleeves of her gown and deliberately lags a few steps back after the man apparently getting no answers to her inquiries. The woman, in her thirties, wrinkles her nose, forming the familiar frown of frustration that her husband knows all too well. Bowing her head she ponders that the man’s whims will take her youth, patience having been spent and eaten away already during this crazy voyage.

 The man smiles behind his beard and quickly turns his eyes towards the tower at the summit of the hill, glad that he would not have to invent any excuses for a few moments while Helena is sulking. The rising sun created long shadows behind the travelers.

They reach a disheveled village, Dorian, with just a few huts at the base of the hill, its inhabitants just rising for the day’s work.

 Especially one was eyeing the man and woman intently from his hiding place on the corner of the stables. His gaze moved from the old man’s body to her younger wife, lingered for a moment, and then crawled up the hill to the sun-framed tower above. He motioned for the others who carried long curved knives at the ready.

   “Cicero? The tower looked tall from afar, built on this high hill, but up close its height boggles the mind. It looks like it reaches to the heavens.” Helana said and squinted her eyes standing on a rock trying to see the top of the tower at its base.

   “That’s true; it is a marvelous and curious piece of history of my people. Not even very far removed. You wouldn’t believe it but those Siidonian cedar wooden doors with their bronze hasps and iron nails are just a few generations older than us, Well, me at least...”

   As he said this Cicero extended his arm and helped his wife down from her vantage point and both of them stepped into deeper shadow of the gateway. The whitish bricks were chiseled smooth and glistened from the morning dew. The door was big and wide enough for two men in full armor to go in side by side; it was adorned with gold and silver. Truly dignified, like a hallowed gate door should.

   Cicero was more interested in the alcove wall,”If this truly is the King’s temple tower, as I begin to hope it is. I am seeing the same kind of craftsmanship and measured handiwork like the one I felt as a young boy when I touched the temple’s face before. But in my time all of the stonemasons were building a temple and this could be only one of those journeymen or one of their son’s work, and not a part of the temple we are looking for.”

   “How could it be? The temple resides in another land completely and you were witnessing its construction with your very own eyes, albeit just a boy, with your brothers by your side.”

   The gold and silver glimmered from the ornate gate in the moist eyes of Cicero when they rise to meet her woman’s eyes.

   ”Hearkeneth and stab at my heart no longer. I know the location of the temple, and as for the reason that I do not follow my father’s wishes and worship the King, nor the Watcher; I would rather forget gladly.” He said with a quiet voice while moving his attention towards the gate. Helena would have liked to say something to comfort him, maybe take back her words, but she knew his inner workings all too well. Instead she inspected the gate very carefully.

   After a moment passed Cicero turns to Helena aghast. “The gold and silver has been inlaid with a pleasing way and skill, but at the place of honor, where its owner’s name was engraved, it has been fouled; turned unrecognizable. Like a sordid rogue has stolen the precious metals.”

   “But who would dare perform such an evil deed? Who would be such a vile villain that, as a guest, would violate a temple gate with such nefarious intent?” The very though made Helena shiver.

   “Mayhaps not a guest, but an enemy.” said Cicero as he pushed his wrinkled hand on the door. It opened silently. They both entered.



Copacetic = jees